In search of a Crane

I spent the day up and down the Ouse valley searching for the  Common Crane and had an unproductive morning personally although Mark Austin had seen the bird on west side of river a few hundred mts below Southease at 9 a.m. The afternoon proved otherwise as at approx. 14.45 p.m. in the company of John King  we located the bird just north of Piddinghoe and in almost  the same spot as I`d seen it yesterday,we watched it for about an hour walking and feeding in a wet field before it flew off in a south westerly direction over the C7 and was lost from our view but appeared to be losing height, didn`t know till this evening that Mark had walked up onto the hill north of Piddinghoe and had the bird fly overhead and land nearby where he watched it for about 30 minutes. Approx. map ref. TQ 425035.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      

A very slight hint of red noticeable on birds head just above the eye.

Hundreds of Fieldfare with handfuls of Redwing throughout the day in the surrounding fields, two Common Sandpiper together along the river and an overhead Buzzard  with Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Sparrowhawk also noted.

Still Plenty at Rodmell

Lots of the good stuff still at Rodmell this afternoon, in a biting easterly.

First up, a Buzzard, a Mistle Thrush and a few Fieldfares around the car park at Monk’s House, then a pair of Peregrines chasing down (but failing to catch) an unidentified wader – the female bird was later seen making off with a largish, dark-looking item of prey (Moorhen? Jackdaw?), followed by the male.

The stubble field north of the track that has been so productive this winter was still abuzz with little brown jobs – c. 50-60 Corn Buntings, with smaller numbers of Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings and Linnets. Difficult to be sure of the numbers, with small groups rising and dropping and coming in and out of the area all the time.

Watching over proceedings, a minimum of 23 Magpies included around half of that total in one small bush.

At the river, a Kingfisher dashed from one of the ditches, there were good numbers of Snipe feeding in the wetter flashes, and a male Sparrowhawk sneaked through.

Coming back along the track, a flustered group of several dozen Lapwing gave away the fact that a Peregrine was hunting again, this time harried by a much smaller falcon – a male Merlin, which then settled briefly on a succession of bushes before heading off towards Southease.

A male Stonechat, a confiding Little Egret and plenty more buntings and thrushes rounded off the aternoon.

With large numbers of Starlings, Woodpigeons and assorted gulls, this section of the Ouse valley is alive with birds.

(Charlie Peverett and Paul Stevens)

Ouse Estuary 6th Jan.

I paid an early afternoon visit to the viewing screen at the Ouse Estuary project, lots of Teal on show, a couple of Snipe at the back in the short reeds, a brief dash from a Water Rail along the right hand edge,a female Kingfisher swaying on a reed stem, a Sparrowhawk rushed past along the back of the reeds, a Little Egret dropped in looking very smart, plumes and all, (does’t it realise its only early January and freezing cold). No sign of any Bearded Tits though.pict0059-2pict0053-2

Rodmell Brooks

I found this Buzzard sat out in a field and then perched in adjacent tree near Southease as I headed along the C7 towards Rodmell.
Two Water Rail and a Kingfisher seen in the brook alongside the path, a Buzzard was perched on a bush top looking back towards the village a Sparrowhawk on a fence post also in this area, the stubble fields and adjoining bushes were alive with Corn & Reed Buntings, Yellowhammers and Skylarks with probably more than 50 of each on show.pict0001-3

Rodmell Brooks

3.pm. – 4p.m. A quiet overcast afternoon, very atmospheric, was lightened by the ever expanding flock of buntings around the stubble fields. Over 120 Corn Buntings in a mixed flock of 200+ birds,that were constantly being disturbed by a Kestrel and female  Merlin (the first I have seen of this bird for over a week). Also Kingfisher along the brook next to the path. All this brought to a halt by a 4 car shooting party.

Lewes Railway Land 16.11.08

A hour or so around Lewes Railway Land this afternoon yielded a couple of Chiffchaffs calling briefly, a Sparrowhawk, one or two Grey Wagtails, a Kingfisher (heard, not seen) along the Ouse and a male Stonechat flycatching from scrub on the grazing marsh.

The ‘Heart of Reeds’ area looks quite well-established now – anyone know whether it had Reed Warblers during the summer?

Mid-week SOS walk, Cuckmere Haven 11.11.08

Sixteen people joined me on the best morning for weather we have had for a bit, although there still was some strength in the south-westerly wind to say the least. This would keep most birds heads down for the whole morning but it was not quite as bad as I had expected 24 hours earlier.

It was a straightforward walk from the carpark to the sea and back on the eastern side. The birds along the way included a difficult to see Ring Ouzel that only really let itself be known when it gave out two sharp ‘taks’ when it flew off, 1 Redwing, several sightings of Kingfishers, 2 pairs of Stonechats, Kestrel, Redshank, Curlew, Greylag Goose, Tufted Duck, a flotilla of 17 Little Grebes and Little Egret.

A sea-watch was virtually impossible due to the head wind so a quick about turn and back to the carpark with the wind and light behind us which produced excellent views of a Peregrine coming towards us from the north, over our heads and then continuing still fairly high south-west.

A good morning’s walk with one or two nice birds thrown in all made even bettter by everybody’s good mood. Thirty-seven species were seen.